Why I Wear Denim on Denim Day

Because clothes can’t give consent. Only people can.


*Trigger warning*: The following article discusses cases and the overall topic of sexual assault.


On April 28th, known as Denim Day, people join in solidarity and bring awareness to sexual assault and injustice by wearing denim. Peace Over Violence started the campaign 22 years ago and chose to place the day in the Sexual Assault Awareness month of April.


Denim Day campaign was originally started from a ruling in 1999 where the Italian supreme Court overturned the conviction of a rapist because of what became known as the “jeans alibi”. The justices ruled that the victim could not have been raped because of the jeans she was wearing. They said she must’ve had to help the rapist take her tight jeans off and that somehow equaled consent. This horrid act of victim-shaming and silencing of this young survivor was immediately fought back on.


Female lawmakers in Parliament joined in protest of the unjust overturn by wearing jeans the very next day. Outrage in Italy continued to grow, and Peace Over Violence decided to create the Denim Day campaign to continue to bring light to the injustice.


“There is no excuse and never an invitation to rape” - Peace Over Violence

Every year a Wednesday in April is dedicated to this important cause. It is a reminder that sexual assault victims are not alone, are never at fault, and will not be silenced.


I personally was unaware of this campaign and its cause until a few years ago. The first time I participated was 2020 thanks to my dear friend Gabby Fezza. She asked a number of her friends to send a picture of them in denim to show support and solidarity on Denim Day. I felt her post alone brought so much strength and awareness to the campaign and sexual assault survivors.


Wearing denim and knowing the message it held made it feel so much more powerful. By just putting on jeans, you can show so much love to so many people. The love and solidarity felt is like nothing else. I felt so honored to be involved in any way. Even if it’s a simple post, the voice of survivors and the voice of justice feels heard.


Source: denimdayusa.org


There are so many misconceptions and harmful mindsets about sexual assault. This day highlights those and encourages people to look at the real problem here: the assaulter.


I strongly encourage you to show unity for all the victims of sexual violence, on Denim Day and every day. Learn and educate others on the damaging effects of rape culture and objectification. Teach girls that their clothes do not mean consent, teach boys what it means to respect girls. Teach all children consent and that their bodies do not give anyone a reason.


Jeans do not justify rape. NOTHING justifies rape.

Survivors deserve better. They deserve justice and they deserve to be listened to and believed.

Denim Day helps brings their voices to light.


Support victims and help fight against toxic rape culture by participating in Denim Day.



PLACES TO DONATE:


Peace Over Violence: https://www.peaceoverviolence.org/donate

Pandora’s Project: https://pandys.org/donate/

RAINN: https://donate.rainn.org/donate


SURVIVOR RESOURCES:


National Sexual Violence Resource Center:

https://www.nsvrc.org/donate


National Sexual Assault Hotline:

1-800-656-4673


The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline:

https://hotline.rainn.org/?_ga=2.177326309.1141118291.1619141833-1746793440.1619141833


Know Your Rights:

https://apps.rainn.org/policy/


More Hotlines And Resources for Survivors:

https://greatist.com/live/sexual-assault-survivor-resources


ARTICLE SOURCES:

https://www.peaceoverviolence.org/denim-day

https://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/16/world/ruling-on-tight-jeans-and-rape-sets-off-anger-in-italy.html